There’s No “Me” In “Team”

By Arrissia Owen

Posted March 15, 2012 in Music

Aficionado takes its game up a notch at SXSW and makes a stop in the IE

Aficionado is a team effort. When the Albany, New York, band’s lead singer Nick Warchol’s former hardcore band broke up, he set out to wipe the slate clean. He didn’t even know what sort of melodious mash up he was shooting for.

Warchol enlisted friends of friends who were musicians playing around the area who he’d heard of through the grapevine—Laura Carrozza (vocals/flute), James Kehoe (guitar), Chris Tenerowicz (guitar/trumpet), Chris Kehoe (bass), Craig Dutra (keys) and Mark O’Brien (drums). He soon had no shortage of input with seven collaborators rounding out the roster.

The band started out real loose, patiently searching for its sound while the members got to know one another, an admittedly tedious task in the beginning, Warchol says. The result is what Warchol recently read about his own band that he thinks sums it up perfectly.

“They said, ‘It’s like nothing I’ve ever heard but like everything I’ve ever heard,’” Warchol says proudly. Aficionado draws from a lot of different influences to create its kaleidoscope catch-all that appeals to punk and hardcore fans while throwing in its own unique take on the genres.

Eight years later, the band draws comparisons to Cursive, The Hold Steady and Piebald while having carved out its own niche. They’ve toured with Cursive’s Tim Kasher and Piebald’s Travis Shettel, with the latter adding some collaborative chops. Considering the music website Paste Punk once called the band’s genre “hella Piebald,” that is a huge score.

“They have turned out to be pretty awesome,” Warchol says. “It’s cool to get to know where they are coming from.” It’s like Kasher and Shettel are the veteran quarterbacks to Aficionado’s rookie year, he says.

“You can definitely take away a lot from them because you respect their opinion,” Warchol says. “But it’s not like we get in these super deep conversations and we’re learning all the time, but sometimes you look back and think, yeah that thing he said was pretty cool.”

Aficionado is in the big leagues now, heading to its third year at industry tastemaker music festival South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. The band is touring relentlessly to promote the recently released first full-length CD, the self-titled Aficionado on No Sleep Records. The time on the road has created a well-oiled, cohesive music machine, Warchol says.

“Everyone knows what their role is in the songwriting and has figured out what they do best in order to contribute in the most positive way,” Warchol says.

Songs like the uptempo “Stir Like Hell” show the band’s range with peaks and valleys pulling the audience in for seductive sing-a-longs with various instruments featuring prominently. The song slows down for Carrozza’s quieter vocals before leading into a thumping crescendo handing the reigns back to Warchol. The dueling vocals make for an interesting dynamic.

With everything from keys to the trumpet, you almost expect someone to bust out a kitchen sink and start jamming. “We like pushing and seeing what we can incorporate and you know experiment with, because there are not really any rules,” Warchol says. Especially since there was never any playbook to begin with.

Aficionado with Vimana, Man Maker at The Wire, 247 N. 2nd Ave., Upland, (909)-985-9466; Thurs., March 22, 7PM. $8-$10. 



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